The course is intended to get students acquainted with logic as applied to
critical thinking and basic scientific methodology. The focus is on
acquiring skills in applying logic rather than on logical theory. The basic
topics from both informal logic, such as informal fallacies, semiotics,
definitions, and classification are covered in the first part of the course.
The second part covers the formal logic: propositional and predicate
calculus, as well as relation theory. These logical tools will be applied to
check validity and soundness of arguments in natural language.
The course is intensive and requires regular work (usually not more than
30 min./week, though). It is very hard to learn logic just a week before
the exam, as you cannot understand the topics introduced later without
knowing the basics. Note also that you cannot pass the exam just by
reading the textbooks. You should rather do more exercises (see the
software and websites recommended.) You also need to have Internet
access and a web browser to do the assignments.
Type of course
After completing the course, students should be able to:
Analyze arguments in natural language using logical tools
Detect formal and informal fallacies in arguments
Correct incomplete arguments
Present valid arguments
Define terms correctly
Build taxonomies, especially classifications
Use basic notions of logic, set theory and relation theory
Know the basics of the propositional logic, predicate logic, naive set
theory and the theory of relations
Know basic concepts of philosophy (in particular the ones philosophy
of language and semiotics)
Know the logical foundations of empirical work, in particular the
structure of arguments as involved in covering-law explanations
Search for multiple sources of information and think critically when
planning their own research
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam will cover the following topics:
1. Basic Logical concepts. Understand what argument is. Distinguish
between intension and extension; identify non-linguistic and natural
2. Informal fallacies. Identify popular informal fallacies in natural
language. Distinguish between formal and informal fallacy.
3. Definitions. Identify types of definitions relative to its purpose. Be able
to give lexical, stipulative and precising definitions. Know the
correctness criteria for definitions. Identify extensional and intensional
4. Classification and set theory. Be able to say whether an enumeration
is a classification or a typology. Construct dichotomies. Know basic
operations on sets (union, intersection, complement). Know the
notion of an empty set.
5. General formal logic notions. Understand and use the notions of
validity, soundness, tautology, contradiction, material implication,
contingency of a statement, vicious circle, petitio principii and reductio.
6. Propositional calculus. Translate natural language into propositional
calculus. Know truth-tables for basic logical operators (negation,
disjunction, implication, conjunction). Be able to use truth-table
method to check validity and invalidity of statements (in a direct or
indirect way). Be able to check validity via natural deduction.
7. Predicate calculus. Translate natural language into predicate calculus.
Use Venn Diagrams. Be able to use natural deduction for predicate
calculus to check validity of arguments.
8. Formalizing arguments. Use propositional or predicate calculus.
Identify the structure of arguments, including enthymemes. Check
validity. Identify popular invalid forms or check their invalidity via
truth-table method. Distinguish soundness and validity of arguments.
9. Relations. Be able to describe simple relations as symmetric,
transitive, or reflexive (or combination). Give examples of relations of
a given type.
Note. If you:
Scored “5” during the mid-term test and
Did all assignments on Moodle correctly, as well as
Excelled in two additional special exercises
… then you can be exempted from the exam and receive the final grade
“5”. The two special exercises will be (1) analyzing the logical structure of
an argument in a real scientific paper (preferably a short one); (2)
checking the validity of an argument in natural language using formal
The mid-term test (45 min) is for your information only. It can only help
you to avoid the final written exam; otherwise, it’s just to let you know if
you need to spend more time on logic.
Note that you will not be allowed to write the exam if you don't do the
assignments. The final mark will be based on (1) the evaluation of a
student's activity and assignments; (2) and the final exam. The rule is: if
the performance in class and results in assignments were excellent, a
student can get half of the grade more than what you would normally get
from the exam. So, if a student scored as many points as to get “4” on the
exam but was really good in the homework, she will get “4+” (4.5). If she
was really excellent on the exam, her homework won't help her, though.
The textbooks and the course assume that you are fluent in English;
however, the purpose of the course is not to grade your linguistic
competence but your logical skills. If you are having problems with
understanding English examples in textbooks, mail me for resources on
the web in Spanish, German or French, or for tips on Polish textbooks.
No more than two absences without excuse are permitted, but home
assignments must be completed.
Information on level of this course, year of study and semester when the course unit is delivered, types and amount of class hours - can be found in course structure diagrams of apropriate study programmes. This course is related to the following study programmes:
Additional information (registration calendar, class conductors, localization and schedules of classes), might be available in the USOSweb system: